Right-hander Justin Masterson has completed his rehab with the Pirates at extended Spring Training and has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, the team announced (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports tweets that the goal for Masterson is to make a pair of starts for Indianapolis, and he’ll aim for a return to the big leagues following that. Masterson inked a minor league contract with the Bucs back in mid-April after he was largely recovered from arthroscopic surgery that was performed on his right shoulder last September. He’s struggled to a 5.79 ERA with the Indians, Cardinals and Red Sox in the past two seasons but was a strong member of the Cleveland rotation for years before that. He’ll hope for better health and a return to prominence as the Pirates’ next reclamation project.
Here’s more from the Senior Circuit…
- With two months to prepare for the deadline, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that the Nationals are expected to look into building out the bullpen and picking up a left-handed bat. The idea, per the report, is that a lefty slugger could spell both Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Clint Robinson currently occupies that general role, though he’s off to a slow start and is not a very appealing option in the corner outfield.
- The Braves were glad to find a trade partner for Jason Grilli, who was shipped to the Blue Jays, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Atlanta was set to release Grilli anyway, per the report, with GM John Coppolella explaining that “the main reason for the trade was to give opportunity to our young arms.” The financial component of the swap remains murky, but the Braves will pay some pro-rated portion of Grilli’s $3.5MM salary on the year.
- A blistering start to the season for Jay Bruce is enhancing his trade stock for the Reds, notes MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. Bruce is hitting .275/.323/.571 with 11 homers on the season, and teams like the White Sox and Giants are both in need of outfield help (with Chicago, more specifically, seeking a left-handed bat). Cleveland, too, could be on the lookout for an outfield bat, though I’d imagine that Bruce’s significant salary (he’s earning $12.5MM this season, of which about $8.27MM remains) would be an impediment to talks. Bruce discussed his strong start with Sheldon, explaining he hasn’t felt this consistent in terms of approach and mechanics in quite some time.